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Twitter Buys Mobile Ad Exchange Startup MoPub for $350 Million

twitter-revenue-modelTwitter announced on Monday that it has acquired MoPub, a mobile advertising exchange startup.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources familiar with the matter said that the acquisition price was a hefty $350 million in stock.

The buy — Twitter’s largest acquisition to date — is essentially a move that will help Twitter keep better track of its ad inventory on an up-to-the-minute basis. Ideally, Twitter can now offer the right ad space at the right time to third-party publishers, who can in turn automatically buy ads based on pre-set conditions.

Think of it as somewhat akin to having what Google has in its DoubleClick platform, or what Facebook has been trying to do (though to a lesser degree at the moment) with Facebook Exchange.

“If you step back, think about the opportunity here in the industry trends,” said revenue product VP Kevin Weil in an interview. “One is a massive shift to mobile devices on the consumer side, while the other is a shift toward programmatic buying on the ad side. MoPub sits at that intersection. So does Twitter.”

MoPub’s real-time bidding technology is the exact thing that Twitter has lacked to date. It’ll be incorporated as a result of the acquisition.

Additionally, in the deal the Twitter stock was valued at $20 per share, according to sources. But it’s worth noting that shares of Twitter are trading at closer to $30 on the secondary market, essentially an instant $10 bump in per-share price.

As a result of the acqusition, MoPub’s 90-person team will join and work together with Twitter’s San Francisco-based ad wing.

TechCrunch was first to report the deal.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald